Uncrossing Part 2

GM: Lex
Players: Bliss, Seb, Lex
Synopsis: After spending a night resting after their previous mission out on the Gulf, the team decides they need to clean up the loose end that is the boat that attacked them. They hunt it down, but unfortunately for them, the buddies of the raiders they killed are also out there. Who's gonna find it first?
Date: May 7, 2080


It's a lazy morning. It's probably not anybody's first time waking up on the water, but for most of the Witch's crew, it's their first time waking up in this marina. And for some, it might be just a tad bit too early, given how exhausting the previous day was. The team gets about seven hours of sleep before the rest of the docks start to stir, with the sounds of people arriving, diesel engines starting, and heavy marine machinery all managing to rumble their way through the sealed interior of the cabin. These are fishermen and charter captains, aside from the filthy criminals, and getting the most of the daylight seems to be their thing.

Some people might sleep through all of that. Lex has not. Or maybe she got up on purpose. There's a fairly basic head aboard, one she showed everyone earlier, with one tiny sink for brushing teeth and a super cramped shower, and she has already taken advantage of both. Now she's clambering around the boat, inspecting closely for exterior damage. It looks like she's paying particular attention to the main sensor assembly positioned just above the flybridge. She's probably worried about any non-obvious damage that raider attack might have caused last night.

There's a lot to do today, but Lex is letting everyone get up at their own pace, if they're not awake already, which they might very well be. Just in case, Lex did send a text Bliss's way once she woke up. "Hey. Just woke up. Head back to the marina whenever you're up. I think you guys were pretty eager to check out what we found, and to maybe try to salvage that friendly boat."

Bliss certainly had a busy night herself. A few things did happen once she parted ways with the rest of the crew …

Bliss smiles as she shows the doll to a small loa spirit she has summoned for the task. "Tell Mama I've found this. It feels like what I was sent for. There's more where I found it…but I think there are elemental guardians. Sending by DHL." With that done, and the spirit and real parcels posted, unless she receives instructions to the contrary, it's time to look for a hotel. A shower is definitely called for.

Seb sleeps through a lot undisturbed, but eventually with a bit of sun on him and the din of the marina really getting going the foredeck turns out to be not the greatest bedroom. He rolls himself up, bleary eyed and stretching and eventually find Lex, "Hey boss, I'm gonna go track down some 'kaf?" He rolls his head, and his right arm, eliciting a series of cracks from stiff joints, "Y'want one?" Even as he talks he hops from the boat to the pier and starts heading up to see if anybody is up at Ceciles and serving yet, planning to soak himself in some stimulants.

Bliss finds a place not that far away, a quaint little beachside spot with a half-dozen rooms with a view of the Gulf. It's nice, which she might like, and which Erzulie definitely likes. Luxury? Not quite. But it's almost there. The bed is the exact right mix of soft and supportive, and the bathroom is expansive and practically a luxury experience in itself. Heck, the freebie hair products are actually half-decent, and there's also a laundry service, which is handy, in case her threads got dirty the other night. It's also not particularly cheap, but some things are worth it.

She's about done getting ready to retire for the night when the Loa spirit returns. Watchers on an errand like this can return with a reply, and this one does. Mama's voice resonates through the air, an unmoving vision of her face appearing.

"You've done well. Consider this test passed. This doll is a bit of a mystery to me too, if I'm being honest, but I think you're now on the same trail that I started following a few months ago. I can't tell you exactly what I was looking for, but I can say that I was following some bad mojo that appeared on my turf in Denver. Be warned, though. You're dealing with powerful forces. If you've already found allies to assist you so far, good. I'm impressed with how resourceful you've been, but be warned that this is probably only the beginning. Since you're already there, I'm leaving this to you, if you're willing to finish what you started."

Bliss considers the doll, and packs it away, touching her doll fetish briefly. Then it's time for a long shower and a careful packing away of all the complimentary products while she uses the ones from the last hotel. She emerges from her primping and preening an hour later, sustains up a Healthy Glow spell, and gets ready for bed. In the morning, it's off to find the new comrades, the missing boat and the recovered canisters playing on her mind.

Seb finds Ceciles open enough to serve up some soykaf, and he orders four, sitting down and drinking one while he's there. He takes it with plenty of sweetener and a good dose of scuttlebutt with whoever is serving, especially if it's Dylan who he'd also regale with some sanitised details about his new crew and thanks for setting him up with them. Taking the other three 'kafs in to-go cups and pocketing a bunch of sweeteners he heads back down the pier to the boat, now in a much better mood. He plants the kafs on a table and proceeds with sweetening his own again by throwing 4 of the little tabs in, "Kaf for you boss."

Lex is still working, but she peeks down over the flybridge railing when Seb asks her. "Yeah, that would be great, thanks!"

Cecile's is already going, as they seem to get started even earlier than everyone else. Inside, it doesn't look like many people are actually seated, though. About the only thing on offer right now is coffee and a few super simple breakfast items. This is apparently mostly a lunch and dinner place, and most of the work one can hear going on in the back is probably prep for later.

Lex is waiting on the marina once Seb returns. She smiles as she accepts the coffee, sipping a few times before she speaks. "Man, I really needed this. Thanks again. Boat's in good shape, by the way. Looks like you did a pretty good job of dealing with those raiders. I sent a quick text to Bliss earlier, by the by. I think she's on her way." She falls silent again for a few moments, kinda awkwardly standing there, not quite sure what to strike up idle conversation about. And then. "Hey, you do the magic thing too, right Seb? Do you think ghosts are real? She sounds vaguely nervous when she asks that.

Seb fires a fingergun at Lex at the thanks, "No worries boss, who doesn't need a good, fokkin'kaf in the morning eh?" He just piledrives words together when he wants to, apparently. He scratches at his chin as he sips on his own now sickly sweet coffee and shrugs, "I tried not to let them shoot her with anything. I don't think they realised what they were dealing with. Should've listened when I told 'em to fok off eh?"

Seb passes the quiet in companionable silence, he doesn't seem particularly fussed about awkwardness, instead finding himself somewhere to lounge. "Ghosts? Dunno boss, I don't do the magic out in the world, y'know? All I got is Wotan makin' me strong and wise, ya. And telling me how to live, I guess."

Bliss predictably shows up on mambo time since she needed to prepare a big old spirit, and haggle with reception after missing checkout. She shows up made up to the nines with a poet cap artfully askew atop her braids, healthy glow going, and she takes a cold cup of kaf. 'Sorry I'm late guys, what's up?' Her eyes are only slightly glazed from the recovery sesh, and she pulls herself up onto the boat. "If Wotan makes you strong and wise, then keep on listening, Bru." She grins. "Do you have any more of that jerky?" She offers Lex a sunny smile. "So do we open those cans or look for that boat first?"

«Auto-Judge[]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Conjuring + 2 vs TN 7 for "F6 spirit with background count 1":
1 1 2 3 4 4 8 16 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Willpower vs TN 6 for " Drain":
2 2 3 4 9 9 = 2 Successes
«Plot» Bliss says, "L stun, rested off in hotel, Erzulie spirit, 2 services"

Seb reaches into a pocket on his fatigues and pulls out a handful of what turn out to be little strips. Different than the chunkier pieces he had last time, "It's not jerky girlie, it's biltong," he admonishes gently when handing it over, but the question of how he could possibly have a different kind sometime between yesterday and now he doesn't touch on. "I'd say, the canisters are stored, that boat's drifting. We want to do anything about the… meal on there, we should do that first. But I'm good to go with whatever you decide, boss."

Lex makes her way back onto the boat, grabbing the railing and trying her best to keep her soykaf in hand. "It's up to you guys, honestly. Some people prefer to split loot early, and get it cached, just in case something goes wrong when we're out at sea. I can totally respect that, as I know a lot of people are really serious about getting their cut ASAP. So if we're doing that first, I'm good. But I think we also all agreed to chase after that raider boat last time? Time is of the essence there, so I don't think we should wait too long. I don't know if a few hours will matter, though."

She looks between Seb and Bliss, seeming a little tired. She has been up and about for an hour or so, but it looks like she's slow to wake. "So what's the word? Each of you has a say, so say." She slurps audibly. "Oh, sorry."

Seb scratches one of his eyelids for a moment and then shrugs, "Boat, I say." He seems unaffected by any social etiquette at all, "Maybe some eggs at Ceciles first, I smelled it up there when I got the kaf." His stomach rumbles as if on cue.

Bliss shrugs. "If the katundu goes anywhere we'll have bigger problems. That boat seems to me to be both a risk and an opportunity. I say we go for the boat while we're all still young and free. Maybe we'll all be eager to look after our stashes someday… but not yet."

"What's a katundu?" Lex asks, a kinda blank look on her face. "Oh wait, we're going, and I'm the pilot. I should probably get her all warmed up. The boat, I mean. It shouldn't take too long. I got her refueled when I woke up." She opens the door to the cabin and heads in, only to walk out again a moment later, pointing at Seb. "By the way, since you're hungry, you should be able to grab something and be back in a few minutes. Just get me a sandwich, if you go."

Seb doesn't need any other kind of permission, "Fok ja. You comin' for some brekkie, bokkie?" He directs that at Bliss, amused by the rhyme but he doesn't wait, he's already hopped off the boat to head up to Ceciles again, where he sweet talks (or just pays) someone to fry them up some bacon and egg sandwiches and quickfilm them to keep for later. He returns with a bundle of sandwiches and another round of kaf.

Bliss decides to build an appetite in the classic fashion, by sitting down to get 'better in touch with the loa'. She'll take her tax on the sandwiches soon enough, and so she offers to uselessly assist Lex with the preparations, not knowing her stern from her capstan…

Soon enough, the crew is aboard, and the mooring lines are cast off.

Lex takes a seat in the pilot's chair, attaches an induction datacable to the back of her neck, and then promptly collapses onto the floor. The boat deflty extricates itself from its slip and finds a path between the other departing vessels as she lies there, drooling. Eventually, though, the Witch is far enough away from any obstacles that she can let autonav carry them the rest of the way, hopping out of the machine and into meatspace once more. "Ow … " She stands and walks out, rubbing her head.

"I keep doing that," she mutters, before turning to Bliss. "So do you have any boating experience, Bliss? One of my colleagues in my old job was in accounting, but she was captain of her school's boating team in high school. Maybe something like that?" Is she just randomly invoking rich girl stereotypes? "Oh wait, where are those sandwiches?"

Seb's got his shirt and shoes off again, he's not getting into any nightclubs any time soon, and he's manspreading somewhere with one foot propped up, sea air whistling through his teeth thanks to the permanent grin, and he's tucking into a sandwich. He points at a little pile of them, "Over here boss, supposed to be bacon and egg, but they didn't get the soy-yolks right." He doesn't seem bothered despite his complaint about yolks not being runny.

Bliss takes an experimental bite of a sandwich. "Seems perfect, they're actually cooked," she says primly. "No boating experience," she admits. "I should have done crew or sailing. Instead I listened to music and got stoned. But boats are kind of cool I'll admit. What's the point in learning though? Those rigs make all the difference. Maybe some day?"

Lex picks one up, starting to unwrap it. "I mean, for basic stuff, the boat will pilot itself pretty darn well, rig or not. Higher-end autonav systems are better than all but the most experienced boat pilots. As for why I learned, autonav and drone pilot both have their limits. If things get dicey, autonav safety protocols kick in, which often means the boat will just stop. Drone pilot isn't dumb, but it's not exactly smart, either? So if you're a smuggler, it kinda helps to have skill yourself. VCR's help a lot, but they're not a substitute." She takes a bite once she finally finishes unwrapping, chewing and swallowing before she continues. "That /is/ pretty good, isn't it? I was mostly just asking to see if any of you can pilot the boat if anything happens to me, though. It's kinda good to take stock of all of each other's skills. Have we done that yet?"

Seb raises a hand, "I know which way turning the wheel points the boat, and how to put the throttle to full. I wouldn't say I'm very good at either thing though, just did a basic course on inflatables. I had enlisted pilots though, so I didn't really need to learn it myself. I could probably stand to get a bit more hands on, just in case. I guess I always know which way I'm going too, like even if I'm blindfolded spun around." He sniffs and chews some more before adding, "I think that you've pretty much got me covered then. I can shoot, fight, swear and fok and ain't nobody been that interested in the fokking lately." He laughs at his own crudeness, which spews out a bit of soy-egg over his lip, which he pushes back into his mouth with the back of a hand, downside of tusks.

Bliss relaxes back against the gunwale, sitting cross legged. "I suppose I actually spent a fair amount of time with combat sims, in addition to what you'd expect," she says. "By that time I was kind of following what I thought my masters would appreciate. Shango likes us to be able to take care of ourselves. Did some of those weekend courses. I can rustle up some spirits and sling some lightning. What I'm really good at, though, is getting my way… and honestly, even planting a thought in someone's head they didn't know they had." She looks a little sheepish. "Might be useful in a tense negotiation?"

"Wait, seriously?" Lex asks, incredulous. "Like a brainwashing spell? How does that work? Like is it permanent? Or does it wear off? Man, that sounds so useful in so many situations. Try it on me. Like … can you make me want to eat an orange? I don't even like oranges."

Seb glances over to Lex, and then back to Bliss, eyebrows rising, "Getting your own way doesn't seem like it'd come hard to you though, to be fair." He appears to be almost on pause now, waiting to see if Lex is suddenly going to jump overboard and start swimming ashore for an orange.

Bliss smiles. "I try to use it in a situation that goes along with what should happen, which is when it works the best. Remember when Francesca kind of stopped panicking and took control? I planted the thought that counts we were all really afraid of her gun and that she was in control of the situation." She shrugs. "I can give it a try."

«Auto-Judge[]» Seb (#13621) has the Attribute Willpower with the value '6'.
«Auto-Judge[]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Sorcery + Spell Pool: 6 vs TN 6 for "Seb WP F6":
1 1 2 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 8 8 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Sorcery + Spell Pool: 6 - 2 vs TN 6 for "Seb WP F6 KP1":
2 3 3 4 4 4 5 9 11 16 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Willpower + 2 vs TN 2 for "Erzulie bonus dice, fetish":
1 1 1 3 3 3 3 4 = 5 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Seb (#13621) rolls Willpower vs TN 6:
1 3 3 4 5 5 = 0 Successes

Seb idly bites his sandwich as he watches Bliss finger her fetish, and various other innuendoes to do with spellcasting. As he chews he remarks, "Well fok me, the yolks get better the deeper in you get."

Bliss tips a small wink at Lex.

"Oh, flag," Lex says, eyes wide, moving in toward Seb. "You got him! You whammied him good!" She stops there. "Wait, do I even dislike oranges? Did you whammy me too? How do I know if I've been whammied? I mean, maybe oranges aren't so bad. They're a little inconvenient to eat, yeah, but they don't taste that bad." She seems really caught up in this now.

Bliss looks embarrassed a bit. "Well it's sort if…. really illegal," she admits. "Which is why it's best used when it's not particularly noticeable? Like when I used it to settle Francesca down," she explains. "It works best when you use it to help someone with something they already can be convinced to. It's easier to make the horse drink if you've already led him to the water."

Bliss grins now. "So! Weren't we going to look for that boat? I can help find it if you make a good guess based on course and speed."

Seb frowns at Lex, then over to Bliss, then shakes his head and grins, "That's swak, you were supposed to do her, not me." He looks down at his sandwich thoughtfully, then shrugs and continues eating, "At least you improved the food eh?"

Bliss arches an eyebrow at Seb. "Oh, you wanted me to do her so you could watch?" she asks, the possibilities left further unsaid.

"We're actually on our way already," Lex replies. "It'll take a bit. Unless you wanna see how fast this boat can really go? Some people find it a little disconcerting, and I thought I'd let you get your sea legs before I start deploying the foils. Unless you wanna try it now? I should probably finish eating this before it gets cold, shouldn't I?"

Seb looks over at Bliss while still chewing, mouth open of course, "Ja, that's right. She even asked you to do her." Deadpan. To Lex he shrugs, "Ja lets eat before we start wave hopping, you reckon she can handle it?" He tilts his head to Bliss, referencing the sometime spectacular effect going fast over waves can have on people who haven't done it before.

Bliss starts to attack her sandwich. No leafy salads for her today. "Mmmph. May need to consider some dietware if I'm going to keep this up." She frowns at Seb. "I'm not that fragile!"

Time passes. The team spends another thirty or so minutes heading out to sea, spending most of that time eating, cleaning up, and possibly playing around with Bliss's magic tricks. Not that there are any landmarks to make it obvious, but it's not an entirely unfamiliar distance, or an unfamiliar spot that you end up in. Bliss, at least, might recognize the astral space around her. This is once more the site of the shipwrecks. There's even a lingering trace of a background count on the surface here, something which is usually a rarity. That's probably because Seb killed four people here just yesterday.

Lex only notices when the boat finally starts to slow and then stop. Standing up, she looks around. "I guess we're here?" She doesn't seem particularly sure herself, but she also has no supernatural senses. "This is where we went down yesterday. Soooo … what's the plan? I guess we can start with what we know already, just to state the facts. Sensor logs have given us a prettttty accurate bearing of what direction they shot off in. Seb said the boat was electric. Common electric speedboats have a maximum range of 100-150 nautical miles, usually on the lower end of that. They probably used up some of their range trawling for a target. I guess they /might/ have shadowed us, but I think we would have spotted them on sensors if that were the case. Also, even if they had a Suncell mod, it was night time, so the boat would have run itself dry. So they're most likely somewhere between 10 and 100 nautical miles from us."

"If I was alone, my plan would be to just deploy Bluebird as a spotter drone and then follow the path of the ship with the Witch, to see if we find it. I could probably come up with some basic calculations using recent meteorological data, to estimate drift. Surface drift on the Gulf is pretty heavily tied to wind. That said, I'm not very confident in my plan. A boat that's totally dead, with no living people aboard, is gonna be a lot harder to detect on sensors." She pauses there. "That's my take. Any other plans or ideas?"

Seb scratches his nose as Lex runs through a plan and then nods, "Sounds about right to me boss." He points a hand confidently in vaguely the direction the pirate motorboat went in, "They're out there somewhere. One nights drifting around shouldn't have taken them too far? Right? Lets do it. Bliss can do her hand waving thing while we do it the old fashioned way, eh?"

Bliss shrugs. "I don't see a reason to modify that. I think we should sprint and spot. Let's head along the vector to our best guess. If you do spot anything then I can check it out for you in a jiffy."

«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls Physics:

"Alright, then. Sounds like we've reached a consensus," Lex says matter-of-factly. "Give me a second to grab some weather data and crunch some numbers. Oceanography isn't what I was trained in, but I know enough, in terms of basic principles, to try to throw something together. Lets hope that's good enough. I'll need to get Bluebird into the air too, I guess. Actually, I'll probably just stay jacked in for this, if you guys have no objections. I'll be able to see a lot better with the Witch's eyes than my own. If you need to talk to me, just speak into the ship's intercoms. I usually don't keep the mics hot if I'm trying to focus on piloting."

She rubs her head a bit, that pain seeming to briefly return. "I need to remember to strap in this time too." And then she disappears into the cabin.

It takes a bit, but you eventually hear the usual motorized sounds of Bluebird launching, followed by Lex's voice playing over the intercom speakers. Then the Witch sets off again, making a slow turn before adopting a straight line course to nowhere in particular. You're traveling SWW, roughly parallel to the coast but slightly away from it.

«Plot» Lex says, "Bluebird's sensors operating at 3 flux, with a +4 altitude modifier. Situational flux of 7, range of 16 km, or 8.6 nautical miles. The Witch's sensors are operating at 8 flux, or 20 km and 10.8 nautical miles, so they can basically see out to the horizon."

Lex's voice sounds over the ship's comms a second later. "This only occurred to me just now, but if our raider buddies have friends who are looking for them, there's a non-zero chance they'd wait for daylight and start their search right about now. And probably the most basic initial search that they could run is to check the planned route of their boat, in case they had mechanical issues that left them dead in the water. Do you remember what direction they were going, Seb?"

«Auto-Judge[]» Seb (#13621) rolls Intelligence for "Which way were they going?":
1 3 4 5 5

«Plot» Lex says, "I'll say Seb has an ummmm … -2 modifier to remember directions and paths that others are traveling, because of direction sense"
«Plot» Lex says, "I'll give it a TN of 5, so I'll say he remembers pretty well."
«Plot» Lex says, "If I recall correctly, the Witch was pointed south. The other ship was traveling almost directly east to west, and first passed aft of the ship."

Seb waves a hand in a general direction westwards and then hits the intercom to reply to Lex, "Looked like they were heading west boss, they passed us aft before trying the sneaky course change. Sensors might have it logged? They didn't alter course until they were out of my sight, but sensors had them all the way. You want me to mount up in case they're about?" Despite asking the question, he immediately makes ready to do so, throwing on his armour jacket as he goes.

«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 1 for "Rolling for exact direction of their original course, relative to the Witch's current course. 1=Matching course (exact same direction) For each number above 1, there's 5 degrees of southward deflection":
4

GM Note: The electric motorboat has a range of 130 nautical miles. The Witch's location was 20 nautical miles out to sea. The raiders' base of operations is about 20 nautical miles east of the marina. They left to hunt for a civilian vessel south of New Orleans, so I will assume a somewhat diagonal course before reaching the waters of New Orleans, with the marina being on the far east fringe of such. Thus they would have used at least 30 nautical miles of range to get to where the Witch was. That's the low bound. But they might have been patrolling already, so it could be higher than that. But they would have left themselves enough range to get back, wherever they were, plus a small cushion. So I will say they had at least 40 nautical miles of range left. So we're dealing with a range of 40 to 100 nautical miles. I will roll 1d6. I'll multiply the result by 11.66 nautical miles, with 7+ simply being equal to 6, and add 30 to that.

«Auto-Judge[]» Lex (#11638) rolls 1 for "Secret roll #1! The distance traveled by the boat.":
1

GM Note: So using a little trigonometry, we find that the resting point of the electric speedboat is 10 nautical miles away from its original planned course. That is well over the horizon (roughly 7 nm) we get if we assume the speedboat is 2 meters high, and that the visual observation point and sensor mast of even medium-sized fast ships is 6 meters above the waterline. So it won't be super easily seen by a squad of boats on a rescue mission. I wouldn't say /impossible/ either, though.

GM Note: Given the circumstances, I'm going to say there's a chance the ship has already been found, or that the search party of the raiders /will/ find the boat if the party dallies. It does seem unlikely, so I'm going to give it a 30 chance. I'll roll 1d10, and on a result of 1 to 3, I'll say the group encounters trouble.

Other super secret roll, 1d10: 7

GM Note: So it looks like our raider rescue party hasn't found the boat yet via their search party. However, there's bad luck for our party. The raiders have their own mage with them.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls Mathematics:
1 2 3 3 5
«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) rolls Profanity:
1 3

Bliss is seated cross-legged with her back to the gunwale, waiting for when the boat stops, so, if needed, she can hop into her spirit body - or is it hop out of her normal body? - and pick up the search as needed.

"Oh, right. The logs. I could just check! Give me a second, OK?" The intercom falls silent as Lex attends to something. It's about a minute before she pipes up again. "Since you were kind enough to remind me, I went ahead and checked the logs. It looks like their departure course was about 15 degrees south of their original heading. I did a little trig, and we /might/ have a problem, guys. Depending on how far they got, and how much the ship drifted overnight, they might not be very far from their original course. I'm talking edge of the horizon for a tall sensor mast looking for a two meter high speed boat."

She sounds genuinely worried. "I'd look alive, guys. To be honest, the Witch is fast enough to outrun these jokers, so I've never really picked a fight with any of them in this way. I have no idea what we're going to encounter."

Seb is already indeed looking alive, as he straps up, for once covering himself from the waist up, then he's over by the ring mount, checking his Valiant is ready to go, with a belt in and no obvious issues that will prevent him from quickly mounting it up. Once that's done he heads down to his kitbag, wherever it is and straps on his sidearm, which is neat enough to fit in a holster so he can carry it around, an Ingram SMG. Hitting the intercom to talk to Lex, "We good to strap up visibly then boss?" To Bliss he asks curiously, "You got anything you can strap up with bokkie?"

Bliss glances over at the ring mount with Seb and tips a wave, making sure that her spirit of Erzulie is close to hand now - she'd been able to summon a pretty big one, in case there's big trouble. She glances over at the firearms that Seb has. "You know, I can use one like that," she says, pointing at the Ingram. "But I suppose I should get some guns soon myself, if we're going to be playing around," she says, thoughtfully. "Yeah, I suppose that would be good prep."

Seb hooks a thumb towards his kitbag, "I've got another you can borrow if you want bokkie. Sounds like we should have everyone geared up. The others a little more modified though." He shrugs as he wraps his bandana around his head, to keep sun out of his eyes, but it doesn't hurt that it's ballistic weave too.

"I'll leave that to your discretion. Guns aren't really my thing, if I'm being honest. My general preference is that we stay as discreet as possible, but I'll leave it up to you as to how ready you want to stay in any given moment," Lex replies. "I really want to beat them there, so I'm going to increase speed to 40 knots. You guys think I should I go faster? You mentioned sprinting earlier, Bliss."

"I was thinking that we sprint until we get a hit on Lex's sensors," suggests Bliss. "And then, we stop if we find something, so I can check it out in the astral, and get back before we move on," Bliss suggests. "I don't know, it'll help us avoid the time needed for a drone to get in position to it," she says. And shrugs. "Anything you got with a laser sight still on it, or something, I suppose?"

"Sprint? I think I can manage that," Lex replies, the Witch's massive diesel engine reving up. She doesn't accelerate super fast, but her speed seems to just keep climbing. "I'll let you guys know if I catch anything on sensors."

Seb shakes his head as he scans the horizon, "Sorry. I'm 'linked, don't need any lasers. Trigger's still on it though, better than nothing." He meanwhile braces himself in the ring mount as he prepares for what he expects could be a rough ride.

Bliss makes a shrug, looking with a bit of envy for a moment, and then she ust resolves to be ready as she might be nearby, if anything interesting happens, ready to check when notified about any distant sensor contacts. She's as comfortable and well settled as possible - unless there's a seat with far better restraints that Lex points out.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 6 for "Lex, Passive Sensors":
2 2 3 3 5 14
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 4 for "Witch, Active Sensors":
2 5 8 16
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 1 for "Bluebird, Active Sensors":
3
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 3 for "Bluebird, Passive Sensors":
2 3 4

The Witch accelerates to a little over 50 knots. You don't really feel it all that much, though. The bow has lifted mostly out of the water, and she seems to handle speeds like this surprisingly well. You can hear it, and it's sure loud, but it's not deafening either. Up on the flybridge, you're separated from the massive engine by at least a few layers of steel and composites.

And then … just about nothing. It was never going to be quick, but the minutes just keep ticking by. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty. Then thirty. Then forty. Then fifty. Regardless of what Bliss and Seb are doing to pass the time, Lex is mostly silent, lying unconscious, strapped into her seat at the helm, paying more attention to her vehicular senses than what's going on aboard.

"We've got a hit!" you suddenly hear, her voice crackling through the intercom, clearly excited. And then a second letter, "Maybe? I can't really see the boat very well. She's a few miles out. Looks small enough to be a speedboat. It looks like she's at a dead stop. I can do an aerial pass with Bluebird to get a better look. Thoughts?"

"I can go check it out even more quickly," says Bliss. "Just…is there a way to keep us moving as slow as possible? Like some sort of like…sea anchor position for the engines or something?" She shrugs. "If you can do it, do it on that." And her head starts to lower, as she prepares to take a look along the line that Lex indicates, to her astral form.

«Plot» Bliss says, "Goin' astral."

Seb continues to chew on something as Lex talks, and then Bliss. He perks up with a yawn and a stretch, "Thank fok for that, I was about to fall asleep. Lets go take a look. We'll be easier to spot though, right? Than a dead boat, so we might draw in anybody looking for that boat."

"It's not as simple as it sounds, but I'm pretty good with station keeping," Lex says, just a tiny bit proud of that. "The marine autonav system I have can handle it OK too, though, honestly. Well, at least in conditions like this," she adds, probably undercutting herself. The Witch slows to just about nothing, making a tight turn at very slow speeds to turn into the wind. "Why is that important? Oh! I should probably tell you where it is. Absolute bearing is abouuuut 350 degrees. That's kinda north by northwest of us? And she's about … 3.6 nautical miles out."

Jumping into the astral here is a sight you've seen before. There's Seb's bright aura, Lex's green aura, with gray spots where she's wared up, and the usual dull gray of the Witch. It's all illuminated by the lively, life-filled sea green aura of the sea. You can see really far out here, with nothing in the way of astral noise to cloud your sight.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) rolls Navigation:
3 4 5
«Queue System» Pelmen (#1491) just added a note to queue entry number 13 on Logs.
«Queues» Entry number 13 on Logs regarding "Uncrossing Part 1" marked completed by Pelmen (#1491).

Seb points off into the distance at about 350 degrees, or at least he attempts to, just in case Bliss doesn't know bearings by degrees or compass directions. "That way, girlie."

Bliss seems to slump, apparently ignoring Seb brutally as her spirit form flicks up into the sky, screaming on a parabolic trajectory at nearly speed of thought, at least that's how it is in her mind, towards the suggested area.

She does take Seb's advice to heart, though, trying to see any astral results - including a puff of hazy background count - that might help lead to the recently assailed ship, which has been floating likely with corpses on board.

It's really not hard to see the boat. A hazy malaise of death, a sickly red fog hangs over it, what some might call a background count. Four people died on this boat, after all, less than twelve hours ago. The four, presumably dead, bodies on it are especially thick with that aura. There's a bit of bad news, though. Bliss isn't alone. A faint, featureless humanoid figure hovers above the boat, its aura distinctly different. It doesn't look like a person, though, not with that shape. A spirit of some kind, maybe?

"Who are you?" asks Bliss of the spirit, considering. She narrows her eyes, wondering if there is a watcher already, and some sort of magical involvement among those sent to interdict them earlier.

She awaits an answer, poised in a heartbeat to blast her way back to her body and share the rather concerning news.

If punching the spirit is not required, first, of course.

The figure makes no reply, though. As soon as Bliss appears, it bolts, flying east by northeast, toward the direction of the shore. That leaves an implicit question to her, instead: pursue, or not?

It immediately bolts, and so Bliss has no choice to attack with a lashing of energy to attempt to ensnare and banish the spirit back to the metaplanes before it can go and complete its duty in the astral, to whoever assigned it to look there. All Bliss can do is hope that it's some sort of watcher weak enouh to be someone she can take down quickly.

She's had to engage spirits before, as part of her initiation even, on one of the 'metaplanes' - an experience she didn't particularly enjoy but which Mama prods her to get used to. So in that fraction of a heartbeat, she's committed herself to personal assault upon that spirit, having no option but to do her signal best here - if banishing nonviable, then she shall proceed with her hown hands and force of personality.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Magic vs TN 7:
1 2 3 4 5 10 11 = 2 Successes

«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Conjuring vs TN 3 for "Banish":
1 1 1 2 4 5 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Conjuring - 2 vs TN 3 for "Banish kp 1":
2 2 3 5 = 2 Successes

«Plot» Bliss says, "Stand on 4 successes."

A quick, sharp attempt, a focusing of her mind in the astral, and Bliss assaults the spirit with a brief grit teeth and a sudden surge of aggression. She's got to get back, fast, to let her friends know there's going to be trouble. The disappearance of a watcher can be noticed almost as quickly as a watcher's message.

«Plot» Lex says, "The first one should be TN 3, so that's 5 successes. That's an automatic success against the spirit's 3 dice in an astral pursuit check."

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 3 vs TN 7 for "Force 3 Spirit Banishing Resist":
2 5 16 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 3 - 1 vs TN 7 for "Force 3 Spirit Banishing Resist, KP 1":
4 5 = 0 Successes
«Plot» Lex says, "Spirit's Force reduced to 2."

The humanoid form of the spirit bounds away, racing toward the shore, but Bliss's pursuit is accurate and relentless. It doesn't get far, still over the water, when Bliss catches up and launches her assault. It fires back, to the small extent that it can, its spiritual energy meeting hers in battle. She hasn't assensed its aura to be absolutely sure, but watcher does seem very likely. Whatever it is, it seems to be a fairly weak spirit, one that's succumbing easily enough to her banishing attempts. With each withering strike, its form slowly dissipates,

«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Conjuring vs TN 2 for "Banishing":
1 1 2 3 3 5 = 4 Successes

Bliss continues to assail the spirit, as much as she can do, focusing her energies towards the increasingly diminishing spirit, hoping that it hasn't really had plenty of time to get off a message ahead or anything.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 2 vs TN 7:
3 4 = 0 Successes

«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Conjuring vs TN 2:
3 3 3 4 5 11 = 6 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 1 vs TN 7:
3 = 0 Successes

The final wisps of energy sustaining the Watcher dissipate harmlessly into the ether, the spirit vanishing from existence.

With the dirty deed complete, Bliss zips back to where she is, with the Witch station-kept pretty solidly, and she reenters her body. "Well," she says, reporting in. "It's there," she says. "And I was spotted. There was a spirit there, which tried to flee. I sent it back to the metaplanes," she says. "So, I suppose we need to get to the bottom of…whatever that is," she says. "They did, like, try to get us first, right? Maybe we gotta get them?"

Seb listens to Bliss' report with interest, "Sounds like you were right boss, people are looking for 'em foks. Nothing to worry about, I'll see off any naaiers that come round after us. I say we at least get what we can from their boat, even if we can't get their boat to salvage."

"A spirit? What does that mean? Do they know where the boat is?" Lex asks, clearly a little worried. "And does that mean we're going in?"

"It means that someone had likely known something about that boat, and that there were dead folks on it. It's possible that the watcher had already seen what happened during the first encounter," Bliss says, thinking. "I suppose we have to go secure that boat. Someone else knows we shot it up," is the conclusion Bliss comes to, based on what she's seen and how effectively she can report. "But we should expect trouble."

Seb nods to what Bliss says, "Yeah, that sounds about right eh? Lets get in there and rop what we can now. I guess that means no boat salvage for us, but who knows who they knocked off on their way to us. Could be rich pickings there boss."

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 4 for "Bluebird Active Sensor Test":
1 1 3 5
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 4 for "Witch Active Sensor Test":
1 1 1 4

"Roger that. I'm taking us in," Lex says matter-of-factly, though she sounds a little bit more uncertain as she adds, "Does that mean we're done with spirit threats, or should we expect more trouble on that front? I'm not reading anything on sensors right now, and Bluebird has a range of about 20 nm in this configuration. I don't think your average raider gang has much in the way of EW, either, so I think we're in the clear for mundane stuff. Hopefully."

The Witch is pointed the wrong way right now, having turned into the wind for station keeping, and so she slowly swings herself around in a slow turn before rapidly accelerating toward the motorboat's location. "If time is at a premium, we should decide exactly what we're going to do before we get there."

Seb remains on station at the ring mount, currently not having anything mounted up because presumably someone will spot a boat coming from more than 800meters, which is sadly his maximum range with that LMG. He ponders from that position, while scanning the horizon, "Reckon they'll have a hidden cargo space? Might be worth searching for. Otherwise just check the cargo and load it. Have that panther cannon as well, that'll be useful if we can get shells for it."

Seb replies simply, "If there's friends coming, can we get the boat back? It seems like it would slow us down."

"Oh, it'll slow us down for sure," Lex snaps off without hesitation. "But I'm not seeing them on sensors just yet, and even moving fast, there's no way they can sneak up on us. Even if they're moving crazy fast, we'll have at least ten minutes of warning. Probably more. Unless I miss them, in which case all bets are off. It's hard to split my attention between meatspace and the RCN, but I could probably pilot the other boat while letting the Witch pilot itself. Or you could pilot the Witch. As long as you know the very basics of helm control, autonav will take care of the rest."

"It will slow us down, though. I'm just saying it's doable. Taking the boat with us leaves the least amount of evidence, after all, though I sorta don't know how the magical end of this stacks up. Maybe it is smarter to wipe the computers, salvage what we can, and leave the rest."

Bliss stays in her seated position on the Witch, ready to engage with any further trace of the spirit threat that had presented itself via the watcher. For now, she stays in her body, taking occasional scans of the astral, but she is in a good position to hop out of herself.

Seb nods to Lex's explanation as he shrugs on a thicker armoured vest and velcros it shut under his arms, "Yeah alright then boss, taking the whole boat would be quicker too. We can move off, then spend some real time checking it out. Less time spent where they might find us, and if they do find us, we can see 'em off. Especially if we get that PAC mounted up straight off."

In order to have a little extra warning, Bliss calls upon the Lord of the Waves to grant a spirit for the purpose of safe plunder on the high seas. From her position, ready to respond as needed magically, she finds it convenient to take the time to call upon a wpirit weaker than the one summoned earlier.

«Plot» Bliss says, "Summoning F4 spirot of Agwe. L drain since this is 1/2 my Charisma."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Conjuring vs TN 4:
1 1 2 4 11 16 = 3 Successes
«Plot» Bliss says, "3 services, 1 will be spent requesting astral overwatch."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Willpower vs TN 4 for "Drain":
1 2 5 5 7 17 = 4 Successes

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls Motorboat:
2 2 3 4 8 10 17

The motorboat slowly starts to come into view. And yeah, looking down into it, it's not particularly pleasant in there. There's enough drainage that most of the blood has drained off, but there's still a bit of it pooled in the corners of the rear of the boat. And most of the deck is stained with it. It's gonna take a lot of cleaning product and a good hosing down to get this thing presentable. The boat seems to be undamaged, though. The armor these guys were wearing wasn't enough to save them, but it seems to have been enough to prevent the rounds from going through their bodies and holing the vessel.

The Witch slowly comes to a stop, Lex expertly maneuvering it alongside the motorboat. She appears from the cabin a moment later. "How should we split the crew? I think you should probably stay aboard the Witch, Bliss, so you can stay protected inside the cabin if you need to leave your body. I'll be on the motorboat. Not sure about you, Seb. Any other ideas?"

Seb jumps down from the ring mount and shrugs to Lex, "I think I should grab that Panther even if I'm aboard the Witch. Are we even sure this thing is powered? Can we tow it?" He looks across, "Let me board with you boss just in case they have someone hiding over there." He shrugs at the unlikely possibility, but remains eager to go aboard, drawing his SMG out of the holster, just in case.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) rolls Naval Tactics (Boarding Actions):
1 1 5 5 7

Bliss gives a shrug. "That sounds good to me," she says. "None of these folks happen to still be breathing, right?" she asks. She glances over at Seb. "Maybe I should go with you as backup?" she asks. "I can at least shout if I see someone."

"Oh, flag!" Lex says. Yes, "flag," the Elementary School Teacher Cursing analogue to frag. She's apparently some sort of anti-Seb right now. "I totally forgot about power!" She draws the gyrojet pistol she usually keeps holstered on her diving armor, then jumps from boat to boat. It's not a big leap, so she makes it easily enough. She heads straight for the controls, pushing the body slumped over the controls out of the way, though honestly kinda squeamishly, shuddering a bit as it slumps down onto the deck. She starts working at the helm, trying to bring up the display. It lights up, albeit very faintly. "Yeah, she's totally dead. This is bad. What do we do? Uhhhh, options, options. I /don't/ think the Witch can really tow her. Not configured like she is, weighed down by armor and gear. Oh! The Witch's solar power might be enough to power the engine, in this weather. Probably a half-hour hour of charging would be enough to get back to shore. I don't know if we could rig it to work while we're underway."

Seb gives Bliss a nod, hooking a hand towards the other boat, and then hops across himself, slipping only slightly on the bloody deck. He immediately sets about searching the ship, he wants to locate the PAC, ensure it's in good order. Hopefully some spare rounds for it and check if it's 'linked. Then he's on to checking for hidden cargo space. "Half an hours charging doesn't sound so bad. Pirates might turn up, we should rig it to disconnect if we need to rabbit, and chill on the Witch."

Bliss hops aboard, breaking the plan, of course, because of her curiosity. She heads back around to near the controls, over to the body Lex pushed away, seeing if there is anything interesting. "I think we should uh…" She looks around. "I think we should take what we can get, and sink it, and get the heck out of here," Bliss says, after consideration.

"Are we gonna sink it, then? What are your thoughts, Seb?" Lex asks. "I'm good either way, honestly. But I think Bliss might have the right idea, now that I think about it. If we're waiting around for a half-hour, and their guys have a lead on us because of that spirit, that will probably be enough time for them to arrive. This boat doesn't have a super long range, so I bet their home base isn't that far away. We could just salvage what we can, scuttle the ship with the PAC, and then ditch."

Seb looks up from his brief scrounging and shrugs, "I mean, it's definitely the safer option, less risk, less reward. If you don't think this boat is worth anything to you, to scrounge for the Witch? Then sure, lets fokkin' hit it and quit it. But eh, I think we can handle whatever they send our way, especially with the PAC on our side now."

"Honestly, I'm not really in love with it, and these boats aren't /that/ expensive. Like it would definitely be a windfall to steal one and sell it, but it's not so big that we can't ignore it, if that's the smart move. I think risk versus reward is a smart thing to consider here," Lex says. "I'm going to make sure I wipe the sensor data. You guys should grab any loot you want and stow it aboard the Witch, regardless. So what's our final decision?"

Bliss gives a scratch of the back of her head, leaning down to pick up a pair of very nice tech shades from the man Lex had pushed aside. "Hot stuff," she says, appreciating their retro boxiness. She puts on the shades, and then points a finger gun at Lex - apparently, Bliss has no problem with dead man's shades. "We get what we can and we leave the boat," she says. "Shall we say about five minutes? I'll admit, having seen that watcher has made me antsy. This way we get something, we sink the boat, and we get away, as best as we can," she says. "Now, let's see if they have a gun rack."

Seb nods at where the general consensus seems to be going, "Alright we play it safe this time then. The spirit clinches it. Loot what we can and scarper." He starts tossing the boat, checking under the seats and wherever else is likely to contain storage, looking for that hidden compartment he's expecting to find.

The team doesn't find a whole lot that they weren't already expecting. There is a hidden storage compartment, apparently for use to stash their weapons before a raid and their loot after one. That's just about empty now, though the team does find some certified credsticks. It's not clear whether that cash is operating money or already stolen gear, but it's up for grabs now. You'd need a reader to check the amount, though. The body armor that the four are wearing is unremarkable too. It's armor jackets or armor vests with plates, without much in the way of modifications. Understandably, all of it was damaged by being repeatedly punched through by a LMG. Their guns are pretty nice, mostly tricked out SMG's of various varieties, but Lex doesn't seem super interested. She's busy working away at the ship's computer. There's also the Panther and its ammunition, two full magazines of 22 rounds of standard AC ammo, since they never got a shot off. Finally, they've all got taccoms.

Seb busies himself on shifting the PAC and it's ammo from boat to boat, and he lugs the damn thing up to the ring mount and props it up inside it. "Fok me, that things so heavy I busted a fokkin' intestine getting it up here eh? You girls find anything else over there?"

Bliss finds one of the taccomms for herself, and a pair of rather submachine guns, laser sights and all - an HK and a Smartgun, which she's rather pleased with. "I'll be able to check those credsticks on my pocsec on the way back," she says, seeing if there's a handy bag somewhere for some of this kit - along with the aforementioned shades.

«Plot» Lex says, "Bliss is saying she would have looted any pocsecs for intel value. I'll say she pulled out the OMC from them and stashed them in her loot bag. Lex would have taken any OMC's from the boat with her too."

Well, it looks like this has mostly been a clean run. In and out. No muss, no fuss. At least that's what Lex and Seb might think. They don't really see much of anything coming, after all. Bliss wouldn't either, actually, if she hadn't taken precautions. She feels a rather urgent feeling of alarm tugging at her consciousness as the spirit of Agwe she had on overwatch rather urgently tugs at her consciousness. The whispers of Agwe, like water, then seem to seep into her ears, drowning out the mundane world. "They are coming. A man, in spirit form, and his servant, a creature of the waters."

For everyone else, this is a bit of an awkward moment. They've had just enough time to pick up their loot and maybe stow it aboard the Witch, but the Witch is still tied loosely to the motorboat, which they haven't sunk yet. The plan was to hole it with the PAC, but that hasn't been done yet. It's probably a smart idea to untie it first.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Initiative with a result of 7.
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls Initiative with a result of 9.
«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) rolls Initiative with a result of 21.
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 1 for "A man, in spirit form":
1
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 1 for "A creature of the waters":
4
GM Note: That's 16 init for our mage and 28 for our water elemental.

Seb is still up on the fly bridge, having just fixed the PAC in the ring mount. Lex is on the swim deck, having just jumped back aboard. Bliss is just inside the cabin, to stow the spoils she has accumulated.

None of them are the first to make their move, though. Bliss knows what's coming, but apparently, the presence of astral overwatch was enough to get the aggressor here to try to strike first. Thankfully, though, that takes time.

Lex is the first to see something in mundane space, though. The water just in front of the swim deck froths and churns, before it slowly rises to form the hulking, humanoid shape of a water elemental. It looks to be at least eight or nine feet tall, and it's within striking distance of her already.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 6 vs TN 4 for "Surprise test, water elemental":
3 4 4 5 5 5 = 5 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls Reaction vs TN 6 for "Surprise test from Lex, disadvantage":
2 4 4 5 5 5 9 16 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) rolls Reaction vs TN 6:
1 2 3 3 3 3 4 5 5 5 5 8 14 = 2 Successes

«Plot» Lex says, "Seb's action next. He can't respond against the water elemental yet."
«Plot» Seb says, "Is it apparent what is happening? Or is Seb just clueless?"
«Plot» Lex says, "I would say you would definitely see it, and that you probably would be able to intuit that it's a spirit. Maybe not all the super details. We just dealt with a spirit earlier, according to Bliss, like less than 10 minutes of IC time ago, so that would probably be on your mind."
«Plot» Lex says, "I don't know whether he would know enough to recognize it as a water elemental, or to know the exact capabilities of a water elemental."

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 + Spell Pool: 2 vs TN 4:
1 1 4 5 9 9 10 = 5 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 + Spell Pool: 3 vs TN 3 for "Drain":
2 3 3 4 4 5 5 5 = 7 Successes

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 4 vs TN 5:
2 3 5 5 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 4 - 2 vs TN 5 for "KP 1":
3 20 = 1 Success

GM Note: Our heroes haven't seen him yet, but our astral mage just blasted the F4 Loa spirit of Agwe out of existence, using a F5 manabolt. It's dead.

Bliss feels her connection to the spirit of Agwe flare up and then fade away as it comes under an unseen attack, and then vanishes.

Lex just stands there, flat-footed, her mouth open. She's not much use just yet, either.

«Plot» Lex says, "The F4 spirit of Agwe got toasted."
«Plot» Lex says, "Bliss is not surprised due to her warning from her spirit and is free to respond and act against anyone."

«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Sorcery vs TN 4:
2 3 4 4 4 7 = 4 Successes
«Plot» Bliss says, "Standing on 4 successes for the lightning bolt."
«Plot» Lex says, "Bliss revises that to a 6S Lightning bolt."
«Plot» Bliss says, "4 successes."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Willpower + Spell Pool: 6 vs TN 3 for "Resisting 3D Drain":
1 1 1 1 1 2 3 4 4 5 5 13 = 6 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Willpower + Spell Pool: 6 - 6 vs TN 3 for "Resisting 3D Drain KP 1/6 spent":
1 2 3 3 5 5 = 4 Successes
«Plot» Bliss says, "Drain fully resisted."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls Combat Pool: 7 vs TN 4:
1 2 3 5 5 10 11 = 4 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 7 + Combat Pool: 7 vs TN 6:
1 1 1 3 3 3 3 4 4 5 5 5 5 10 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 7 + Combat Pool: 7 - 1 vs TN 6:
1 1 1 2 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 8 11 = 2 Successes

GM Note: That's S damage on the F5 water elemental.

Back on the Sea Witch, Bliss is alerted by her watching spirit, but has no chance to sound the alarm before the watching spirit is blasted out of existence back to the metaplanes. Thankfully she is able to see the churning water, and putting two and two together she channels a lightning bolt to that patch of water, a powerful crackle clapping through the air.

«Plot» Lex says, "First initiative pass is over. Next one starts now."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 10 vs TN 7:
1 1 1 2 3 4 5 5 22 22 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 10 vs TN 7 for "KP 2/2":
1 2 3 4 5 5 5 5 7 10 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 10 - 2 vs TN 7 for "KP 2/2":
1 2 4 5 5 16 16 17 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls Combat Pool: 10 vs TN 4:
1 2 2 3 3 3 4 5 7 8 = 4 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls Combat Pool: 10 - 4 vs TN 4:
3 4 4 5 5 7 = 5 Successes

The lightning bolt surges through the water, flashing blue energy traveling upward into the water column that is the elemental. It twists and writhes silently, a strange spectacle that one might interpret to be some sort of discomfort. And it's not quite the same when the spell's work is done. Its once hulking humanoid shape is now lumpy and misshapen and slumped. Clearly, it's not able to hold together as well now.

But it has enough juice to do what it was asked to do, which is apparently to go after Lex. Why her? Maybe she was the most obvious target. Maybe she was closest. Maybe there's a better reason than that. You'd have to ask whoever gave that order.

Whatever the case, it lunges toward her, trying to engulf the rigger within its watery mass.

Lex doesn't even try to fight back, since swinging her fists against a water creature doesn't seem like a super effective course of action, even to a totally clueless mundane like her. She just dodges out of the way as best she can, managing to stay away, though now the water elemental is on the swim deck and closing on her. She doesn't really have anywhere to run.

«Plot» Seb will jump down out of the ring mount and punch the elemental.
«Plot» Seb says, "Using my force of will."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) has the Attribute Willpower with the value '6'.
«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) has the Attribute Charisma with the value '3'.
«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) rolls Willpower vs TN 4 for "Punch the spirit with your personality Seb":
1 1 2 3 3 4 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) rolls Willpower - 1 vs TN 4 for "Punch the spirit with your personality Seb KP1":
2 2 2 3 8 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) rolls Willpower - 2 vs TN 4 for "Punch the spirit with your personality Seb KP3":
1 4 11 17 = 3 Successes
«Plot» Seb stands on 5
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 vs TN 3 for "Resistance":
2 3 4 5 8 = 4 Successes

GM Note: No damage to the Water Elemental.

Seb initially angles the Panther Cannon down towards where the disturbance in the water is. After a moment of peering at it Seb is horrified to see the literal water come alive and try to attack Lex, well, at least after being struck by real life motherfucking lightning. Seb might have a touch more respect for Bliss after that. He ducks out of the ring mount and jumps down from the flydeck, trying to land on the elemental. He's not entirely sure what he's doing, he just knows he was taught in school that you can hurt a spirit by trying hard enough, so he tries. He tries so hard his hands and feet get soaking wet, but the elemental seems fine.

The elemental seems mostly unfazed, but it's still limping along. It ignores Seb, though, instead singlemindedly continuing to pursue its original objective. Once more, it lurches toward Lex. And this time, she's out of room to maneuver.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 10 vs TN 7:
1 1 1 2 2 3 3 3 5 5 = 0 Successes

GM Note: Second engulf attempt has no successes. That's lucky for Lex, since she has no combat pool left to use for Full Defense.

Lex can't really do much but wince and cower as the elemental launches two thick "fists" of water at her, columns that would likely easily ensnare the rigger, were they actually directed with any accuracy. They instead just harmlessly slam into the armored bulkhead above her, the creature too damaged to really manage a better performance.

«Plot» Seb will quickdraw the Smartgun into a 6 round FA at the elemental.
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 vs TN 6:
2 2 3 3 5 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) rolls Submachine Guns + Combat Pool: 6 vs TN 2 for "15D base":
1 2 2 2 2 3 4 4 5 7 10 10 = 11 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) uses 6 of item 1: EXEX SMG Ammo from Ammo (#13656).

Seb gets fed up of this blob of water trying to drown his captain. It's going to be awkward going back to port without Lex on board, but he can't seem to do anything to it with his bare hands. So, he resorts to what he knows best: shooting things. He pulls the SMG from his waistband holster, doesn't even bother going for the folding stock, he just links into it, sets it to full auto and sprays the blob of water down with EXEx ammunition until it resolves into just another puddle of water on the deck.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls Initiative with a result of 14.
«Auto-Judge[.]» Seb (#13621) rolls Initiative with a result of 27.
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Initiative with a result of 6.

Lex finally regains her senses. "What the flag kind of dredge was that?" She stands up, shaking, patting herself down to make sure she's in one piece. "We've got to get out of here. Is that everything, Bliss, or do we have more to worry about?" She hurriedly starts to work on unmooring the motorboat. "You ready to sink this thing, Seb?"

Bliss holds up a hand. "There's a mage here," she says, considering the next move. And then, she sits down, rather rapidly, leaning against the gunwale of the boat, now, and she slumps - as her form enters the astral. She doesn't move to assail the astral form of the mage - rather, she moves to communicate. "Your men attacked us first," she says. "What do ya want?"

The astral here is a mix of extremes, with the hazy malaise of death that surrounds the motorboat bleeding into, but not quite overcoming, the otherwise peaceful astral ambiance of the sea.

"Bitch, you killed four of our guys and then came to steal our boat. You really think we're going to just work this out?" he asks. "You want a way out? Why don't you surrender and throw down your weapons? My boys are on their way, and that's a nice boat. Maybe the boss will be OK with taking it as payment. He's a reasonable guy."

The aura of the mage is about what you'd expect. In shape, he looks like a young human man, dressed similarly to the now dead sailors who once manned the motorboat. His aura is a deep, burning red, perhaps a reflection of emotional state. He's definitely awakened, though that was obvious to begin with. More detail will require a more detailed inspection of his aura.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 for "Mage assensing Bliss":
2 2 3 5 8
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Intelligence for "Bliss assensing mage":
1 2 2 4 19

Bliss doesn't get a lot of detail. Nothing she didn't already know. He's a young, healthy human man. In terms of tradition, he's a mage. And he's pretty angry.

"Uh, sure, yeah. We'll just sit here and surrender," she says. "Maybe you can tell us who we're surrendering to?" she asks. "Your guys just shot at us first, but I guess this just keeps going forever, whether we run or not? Might as well just surrender, now, I s'pose," she says to him, hovering there and scratching her head.

"You think I'm stupid? I'm not telling you shit," the guy says defiantly. "All you need to know is that we're the biggest, baddest raider gang in the greater NOLA area, and that we rule these waters." This definitely sounds like some Chest Puffed Out braggadocio, and he seems pretty young, so who knows how accurate that is. "The Boss is former CASN, y'know." He falls silent. "You don't look like much. I don't know what kind of magic that is, but it doesn't seem like all that. I bet I could take you, honestly. There's nobody to save you here on the astral." He really sounds like he's working himself up for a fight.

Bliss nods. "Indeed, but we kind of just need a name, in order to fill out the paperwork, you know? For the surrender," she says. "Look, it was our fault, we made the mistake of going for that wreck we had no idea you had a claim on, and then when your fellows shot at us we had the bad manners to shoot back. Why didn't you guys talk to us first?" she asks. "Now you just want to kill us, right?" she whines.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 vs TN 5 for "The dumb thing":
1 5 5 5 5 = 4 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Negotiation for "Fast talk":
1 2 2 2

"What the frag is surrender paperwork?" He sounds really pissed now. "You really want to frag with me, huh? Fine, then. Lets go. You and me." The wizkid's about to go after you.

«Plot» Lex says, "I'll say he's spending enough time talking that you have time for one action."

"No, I don't think so," she says. "I would be dead if it were just you and me," she says. "But I am nothing. Erzulie is my all. And so I must beg her to protect me against a brute like you," she says, calling on her spirit mistress to send the loa spirit that had been conjured earlier, bringing its form with near immediacy into the astral realm…right nearby.

The mage goes full incel wizkid. Truly, the anti-Mambo of Erzulie. "I'm not a simp, and I don't bow down to spirit thots!" He does sound a little rattled, though. The bright aura of the spirits speaks to its force, and even he can see that, bravado or not.

"What's a…simp?" asks Bliss. "I uh…" She narrows her eyes. "Lady Erzulie is not…a…" It almost takes a while for her to process what's just happened - and yeah, that's even more extreme than anything she's heard to this date. It's even heavier than what she heard at MITM. Calling Erzulie a 'spirit thought' is enough to awaken something Bliss didn't know she was really capable of, a burning, white hot indignation, which surely shows up in her aura, and then she's, no doubt backed up by the spirit in question - hurtling with her spirit fingernails greedily seeking the spirit eye sockets of the whizkid.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 1 for "Mage init":
2
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls 1:
1
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) has the Attribute Intelligence with the value '5'.
«Plot» Bliss says, "Astral init for Bliss: 26."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls 1 for "Erzulie spirit":
5

GM Note: That's 25 init for the F6 Spirit of Erzulie, 22 for our mage, and 21 for Bliss.

«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls 6 + 6 vs TN 4 for "Astral Melee, 6 Combat Pool dice in attack, 3 remaining":
1 1 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 5 9 10 = 6 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls 6 + 6 - 6 vs TN 4 for "Astral Melee, 6 Combat Pool dice in attack, 3 remaining KP 1/6 spent":
1 2 4 4 5 9 = 4 Successes

«Plot» Bliss says, "It stands on 10 successes."
«Plot» Lex says, "It's 3 KP."
«Plot» Lex says, "Is the spirit dealing stun or physical damage?"
«Plot» Bliss says, "I guess we're tryin to kill him now, so physical."

«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 + Combat Pool: 5 for "Wizkid Fights Back, 5 sorcery + 5 astral combat pool":
1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 5
«Plot» Lex says, "That's a whole 1 success, not looking great for him."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 + Combat Pool: 5 - 1 for "Wizkid Fights Back, 5 sorcery + 5 astral combat pool, KP 1/3":
1 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 8
«Plot» Lex says, "Keep forgetting the TN. That's 5 total."

«Plot» Lex says, "OK, that's 6D physical damage that he needs to soak with willpower. Since it's rolled as melee combat, he can use his remaining astral combat pool for that."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 + Combat Pool: 2 vs TN 6 for "Wizkid Soaking Astral Damage, 5 Willpower + 2 ACP":
2 3 3 4 8 10 17 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 + Combat Pool: 2 - 3 vs TN 6 for "Wizkid Soaking Astral Damage, 5 Willpower + 2 ACP":
1 1 2 5 = 0 Successes
«Plot» Lex says, "The wizkid suffers S damage, and has 1 KP remaining."

The usually lovely vision that is a relatively strong loa spirit of Erzulie is now a figure of terrible vengeance, hair flaring as she precedes Bliss into the assault on the mage's astral form. Claws are most certainly out as the spirit brutally tears into the astral form of the offending mage, and Bliss is certainly not far behind.

«Plot» Bliss says, "His wound would lower his init below mine, I suppose?"
«Plot» Lex says, "Oh, good catch. It would."
«Plot» Lex says, "I guess you can preempt his escape roll."

«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Sorcery + Combat Pool: 6 vs TN 2 for "It's nice having friends in melee":
1 2 2 2 2 3 4 5 5 5 5 9 = 11 Successes
«Plot» Bliss says, "Stand on 11."
«Plot» Bliss says, "Actually, that was 6 successes. TN is 4. Using 1 karma pool."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Sorcery + Combat Pool: 6 - 6 vs TN 4 for "It's nice having friends in melee Karma Pool reroll, 2/6 spent total":
2 2 2 4 5 7 = 3 Successes
«Plot» Bliss says, "Stand on 9 successes."
«Plot» Lex says, "TN is 3, actually."
«Plot» Lex says, "Friends in melee is -1 per friend for people with more friends, and +1 for people without."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 vs TN 8 for "Mage counterattack":
1 2 2 3 5 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 vs TN 8 for "Mage counterattack KP 3/3":
2 4 5 5 10 = 1 Success
«Plot» Lex says, "So that's 7 successes on the first roll."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Bliss (#8867) rolls Sorcery + Combat Pool: 6 - 7 vs TN 3 for "It's nice having friends in melee Karma Pool reroll, 2/6 spent total":
2 2 3 4 11 = 3 Successes
«Plot» Lex says, "So that's 9 net successes for Bliss, and she has 8 charisma, which stages her attack up to 10D."
«Auto-Judge[.]» Lex (#11638) rolls 5 vs TN 10:
1 3 5 5 11 = 1 Success
«Plot» Lex says, "The mage was about to try to cut and run after he realized this fight wouldn't go his way, but you attack and kill him before he can get begin his escape."

Well, it seems New Orleans hath no fury like Bliss and a powerful spirit matron being called a pair of thots. It's actually an open question whether it was Bliss or the matron who was called, and with a lightning-crackling fist, she caves in his astral chest, his form disippating like so much confectioner's sugar.

"Grand spirit of my beloved mistress," Bliss asks for a moment. "Can you aid me in finding where this mage has now died?" she asks, wondering if this is even doable from here, or not. She's already wondering on how this gang can be traced to its very source.

The Loa spirit of Erzulie returns to its former calm, sultry style of speech, "I could certainly try. I could look for a man's corpse. Is this what you wish?"

Bliss, still floating in her astral form, bows politely. "Yes, I would beg that boon of you, with my deepest gratitude. I wish to make sure that we can identify who's after us so that I can continue to serve and…uh…not get found and shot in the back," Bliss beseeches.

Regardless of the result, she returns to her body, so that she can explain what she's been up to to the others.

"There was another mage there, in an astral form, who had brought the elemental. I killed him!" she says, a little wild-eyed. "I'm trying to see if Erzulie can lead us to where his body is now," she says. "We need to find out who's after us. He said that another boat is on its way," she says. "I think we need to be gone. They might have missiles or something else that could catch us unawares." She seems a little bit in shock - Seb's seen the symptoms before, hyperventilation, elevated heart rate. Might actually be the first time she's killed someone.

Seb is still on the swim platform from which he'd shot the elemental that was trying to assault Lex, when Bliss wakes up with her repor on the dead wizard. He stows his Smartgun back in it's holster, still down six rounds from the clip and he starts heading over to where Bliss is sat against the gunwale, giving Lex an appraising glance and holding a hand up to her in a sort of generic 'you ok?' kind of way. But Bliss requires dbriefing, "What'd he say? He say they got some fokkin' missiles? You believe him?"

"Oh, gosh. Yeah, that's smart. We should hole that motorboat ASAP, then. Once that's done, I can take us back home," Lex says. She heads toward Seb and Bliss, obviously concerned about the mambo, but perhaps a little awkward in her bluntness. "Are you OK? Did that mage get you or something?"

"No," says Bliss, maintaining a grip enough to give a clear and direct answer. "Hey said that they're coming in another boat, and that the Sea Witch would be a nice prize for them, and that they were going to come kill us," she says. "That these guys are one of the biggest and baddest gangs in New Orleans. But he wouldn't name them, though, which is odd. So they're probably not so much. I'm trying to find out where his corpse is cooling down right now…but yes. We may have started a…um…small war with whoever this crew is." She glances at the PAC. "And they do seem relatively well-armed. And they have magic support." She shrugs. "Hard to tell how big of a problem this is." She still seems dazed.

Seb reaches Bliss and puts a hand on her shoulder, cocking his head to look at her intently for a moment, seeming at least a little impressed that she could put together that much of a coherent thought. Glancing back to Lex he shrugs, "Maybe Dylan could tell us who these guys are? He seems to know the lay of the land pretty fokkin' well." He gives Bliss a pat on the shoulder and then moves off to go back up to the PAC, swinging it round to aim at the motorboat, "Alright boss, your call, you want me to put a hole in this fokker and lets get outta here?"

Lex does look concerned by that. "That's … not great. But hopefully we can shake their tail after this." She decides not to crowd Bliss too much, but she does offer some comforting words. "Hey, Bliss. You did a lot of the heavy lifting for us just now. Why don't you chill for a bit? I can get your stash, if you wanna smoke. We'll take care of the rest. Once we're underway, I'll sit with you."

It's about then that Seb makes it up to the PAC and calls for a firing order, or not. "Yeah. Do it." To Bliss, she offers. "Might wanna cover your ears for a second."

Bliss looks up gratefully to Lex. "That would be nice, thanks," she says, her eyes looking a little wider than normal, but she's still lucid. She covers her ears, as directed - because the other boat is going to get properly holed, after all.

Seb nods to Lex when she confirms the call, aims the PAC down at the motorboat, just generally somewhere over the deck and pulls the trigger, putting the first round fired from it in service of the Silver Witch through the hull of the go fast boat. He lets the PAC swing down after that, dropping back out of the ring himself and fingers one ear, "Fok me, I'm gonna need some fokkin' ear defenders if I'm gonna use that thing again. Jesus fokkin' christ that's a loud naaier. Lets get fokkin' moving."

The motorboat seems to have been kitted out with /some/ concealed armor, likely just enough to deter small arms fire. Maybe the deck armor was neglected, or maybe it just wasn't enough to matter with the kinetic energy of an assault cannon. Regardless, it offers no resistance to the assault cannon. The retort from Seb's shot is defeaning, and the recoil actually rocks the boat a small but noticeable amount. Seemingly at the same instant, a huge spray of water erupts from the now gaping hole in the motorboat's deck. Thankfully, most of the shards of the armor and metal seem to go down, not up.

It's somewhat alarming just how rapidly the boat sinks, when that happens. It's less than a minute. The bodies go too. With a full night of offgassing, and several machinegun round-sized holes in them to expedite the process, they don't even float.

Lex waits a little while, to make sure that the evidence of their deeds is going down to the bottom of the Gulf. Then the Witch turns toward home and slowly starts to accelerate, its speed climbing and climbing to a fairly crazy pace. Beyond the sound of the motor, the group can hear some kind of machinery below the ship, though what's happening isn't particularly visible. The ride does seem to get a lot smoother when that happens.

"Let me get your stash. And I've got something both of you will like, I think," Lex says to the others. She heads belowdeck, returning about sixty seconds later with Bliss's box of goodies in one arm, which gets handed off to her, and a pair of tighly-rolled cloths tied by a fair bit of rope in the other. "I had to strip most of the creature comforts, to save weight and space. I do keep a few lightweight indulgences, though, to make life more livable. Those deck chairs are one example of that, but they're not the only one." It takes about a minute of knots for two large hammocks to take shape, rigged between the opposing gunwhales of the flybridge. "What do you think? Pretty posh, right?"

Bliws looks grateful, and then looks at the creature comforts. "It's nice, Lex," she says "But how can we set up a third one, I wonder?" she asks. "There you go, forgetting to think of yourself, hmm?" she asks, with a smile. She seems pretty excited for the hammock. "Can I help set them up?" she asks, thumbing a little bit of stuff into the pipe that's been dangling around her neck.

"I can get a third once we hit shore and have some free time," Lex offers. "And yeah. Lemme show you how to work this. There's a lot of downtime on most of my jobs, so being able to use this stuff to chill is a useful skill."

Even at this crazy speed, the group has plenty of time to do just that. There's a long period spent traveling east along the coastline, though out of sight of land, roughly reversing the search course that originally took the team to the motorboat. Lex keeps one eye open for any alerts from Bluebird or the Witch's sensors, but none come. It's over an hour of motoring before the Witch's crew can even see the shoreline, and as it comes into view, they can make out the familiar sight of Cecile's and the marina. All told, this little excursion took about four hours, and it's still the afternoon when the Witch again docks in a hopefully safe habor.

Bliss smiles to Lex. "All right," she says. "I think it is a really nice addition," she says relaxing a little bit as she takes a puff from her pipe, offering the boom around to others who happen to be interested, but mostly thinking about her…new feelings, the /anger/ she felt at that mage. She considers. "Let's go and take stock of where we are," she says. "I think we got some interesting things, both from the salvage, and from this. We haven't even looked at both, yet," she says. "I hope we got some good pieces from Francine, and I want to know what's in those canisters, and what we can do about it. And I want to know what was down there, and I want to know why these guys have been trying to kill us from first sight."

Seb actually declines getting into a hammock right away, preferring to spend some time on the ring mount until the boat is really probably clear of the potential incoming raiders. After a while he'll finally relax, stow the PAC out of sight and come down to chat, perhaps belaying his easy nature with a show of some actual responsibility. On the latter of Bliss's questions he has some input, "Trying to kill us? Nah I don't know about that. I guess probably if they'd taken the Witch they might've shot the owners, but we can't be sure. I shot them first when they didn't fok off after I told them to." He shrugs, "I mean sure, they were mounting up a PAC, so they were probably going to shoot me, but at first they were just sneaking up on us."

It takes a while, but the Spirit of Erzulie eventually returns to Bliss. "My search was unsuccessful, unfortunately, my dear. With this service done, I think our agreement is concluded, for now. Do contact me again, though. I do enjoy the company of those who can appreciate the finer things. Speaking of, my mistress is a bit distressed that you haven't been indulging yourself in the things you deserve. It doesn't bother us /that much/, but we're worried that it might start to bother you." She smiles there, reassuringly. There's no venom in her words when she says that. It seems more like concern. She's a Loa spirit of Erzulie, after all. She knows how to make people feel cared for.

Bliss doesn't argue with the spirit, but does consider…she's going to find herself a place to be a bit more settled, here in New Orleans. She hasn't even set up a hounfour - and Bliss learned long ago, you don't argue with the spirits. She accepts the advice gracefully, and gratefully, before the spirit disappears. "Well," she says. "Let's see if we can find anything out about these guys," she says, starting to paw through the stuff retrieved.

"Fair enough," Lex says. "It seems like we've got a lot of things to deal with. Is anyone hungry, actually?" The important questions.

Bliss nods. "Yes," she says. "I -am- hungry."

Seb pulls out a packet of biltong and rips it open, "Ja I could fokkin' eat," and then he throws a handful of the stuff into his mouth.

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